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UPDATE: Supreme Court Issues Temporary Halt to TMT

November 17, 2015, 5:08 PM HST (Updated November 18, 2015, 8:26 AM)
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***Updated at 6:45 p.m. to include additional information.***

Ku’uipo Freitas, Mauna Kea Protector and Mauna Media representative, tells Big Island Now that the State of Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources has confirmed that Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement officers would not ascend Mauna Kea Wednesday.

The confirmation follows the announcement by the Hawai’i Supreme Court that a temporary stay has been placed against Thirty Meter Telescope through Dec. 2. Under the stay, TMT’s permit is invalid.

“We are just really happy with this,” Freitas said. “The permit is clearly for everything TMT. They shouldn’t even have their equipment up here.”

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Rumors began to spread Monday that TMT crews would head up the mountain Wednesday, following TMT International Observatory Board of Governors Chair board chair Henry Yang announcement the week prior that a crew would conduct site preparation activities at some point during the month.

***Original story posted at 5:08 p.m.***

The Hawai’i Supreme Court has granted a request for an emergency stay upon appeal, putting a temporary stop to any construction plans of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea.

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The emergency motion was filed on Tuesday by the Mauna Kea Anaina Hou, Clarence Kukauakahi Ching, Flores-Case Ohana, Deborah J. Ward, Paul K. Neves, and KAHEA; The Hawaiian Environmental Alliance.

Supreme Court judges granted the motion “in part” and issued a temporary stay, meaning that TMT’s Conservation District Use Permit has been frozen through Dec. 2.

The stay has the potential to be extended by the court.

TMT was not a defendant in the emergency motion, but opponents argued that TMT was planning to move forward with construction despite the fact tha a final ruling by the Supreme Court has not been made.

Defendant in the motion include the State of Hawai’i Board of Natural Resources, State of Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources, former BLNR and DLNR Chair William Aila Jr., and the University of Hawai’i at Hilo.

Earlier Tuesday, Governor David Ige released a statement saying that TMT crews headed up the mountain this month would not be conducting construction work.

Instead, Governor Ige said that the work would involve maintenance and equipement repair work that would “protect the environment and enhance public safety as we head into the winter season.”

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